Viridorari is an environmentally focused blog. The mission of Viridorari is to help you incorporate healthier, "greener" habits into your life, to benefit you, the people around you, and the environment.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Harsh Facts, Ecofriendly Economics: Go Green in the Garden

Harsh Facts of the Week

Currently, no government institution or animal organization has the legal responsibility to tabulate national statistics in regards to shelter animals. While many shelters understand the value of keeping statistics, no national reporting structure exists to make compiling national statistics on these figures easy or even completely possible. These statistics are estimates made from the data available.

$2 billion of taxpayer money is used to capture, house, and kill homeless animals annually.

About five to seven million companion animals are admitted into shelters across the nation each year, and three to four million of them are euthanized (60% of dogs and 70% of cats). In 2008, approximately 3.7 million animals were euthanized in the nation’s shelters.

After being lost, less than 2% of cats and about 15 to 20% of dogs are reunited with their owners.

While virtually impossible to determine exactly how many stray animals live in the United States, estimates for stray cats alone range up to 70 million. 

The average number of litters a fertile cat can produce is one to two a year, with four to six kittens in a litter. For dogs, one litter a year is healthy, with about four to six puppies in a litter. In puppy mills, females are typically bred twice a year, and at this rate they burn out by age five and are put to death shortly after.

99% of puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills. 500,000 puppies are born in mills and sold in pet stores every year. 

Most dogs that are used to produce puppies in mills live their entire lives in cages.

Today, we put our dog, Buddy, to sleep. He was old and in poor health. But he was in worse health when we adopted him from a local shelter, and because of us, he lived a longer, happier life than he would have. Today, he passed away with contentment and was surrounded by a loving family.

I am a strong advocate of adopting dogs from shelters over purchasing puppies from pet stores. Rescuing dogs is endlessly rewarding because in most cases you're giving them a second chance at life. Our other rescue dog, Rosie, is now a certified therapy dog due to my mom's love, patience, and hard work. When you purchase your four-legged friend from a pet shop, you are most likely using your consumer power to inadvertently support puppy mills and the atrocious business they conduct.

When it comes time for you to acquire a new companion, thoroughly consider where you're buying your new friend from, and spend your money wisely. In honor of Buddy, I will write on this topic more thoroughly later this week.

Ecofriendly Economics

Summer is here! It's gardening season! Here are four ways you can be greener in your garden while saving money. To learn ways to make your yard and garden a wildlife sanctuary, check out Green Challenge #3.

1. Reduce your water usage and water bill by collecting rain water. If you live in area that receives rainfall fairly regularly, set up buckets or barrels in opportune places on your property, such as underneath overhangs and gutter drainage pipe. Once you've got a decent amount of water stored up, use it in place of your sprinklers and hoses to water your gardens on the hot, dry days. Store your full buckets and barrels in shaded, cool areas so the water does not evaporate. Hooray, free water!

2. Plant an herb or vegetable garden. Even if you live in an apartment, gardening is possible, and no matter where you live, growing your own food is rewarding. Read Tsh's cute post about gardening with your kids here on Get some tips for starting a veggie garden here, with lots of links to helpful resources. My grandfather, now retired, has a fairly large plot of land devoted to growing vegetables, and for most of the year we never have to buy vegetables because he grows more than all of us can eat. One of the best parts of owning a veggie garden is sharing and cooking with your crop. 

3. Ditch the pesticides. Read my Green Challenge #3 to learn a handful of reasons why you should avoid using pesticides when caring for your lawn and garden. 

4. Compost your garden clippings. Learn how easy and beneficial it is to start a compost pile with Viridorari's second Guest Writer, Alex, and her post about composting

Animal of the Month Update 

Golden lion tamarins live, on average, for fifteen years in the wild. A group of tamarins is called a "troop." Tamarin males help to raise their offspring, and often carry their babies on their backs. Tamarin young are usually born two at a time, as twins.

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